Parental substance misuse has multiple and complex effects on children, depending on a number of variables ranging from the characteristics, personality, coping strategies and support systems of each individual, to socio-economic class, mental health, physical health, social and environmental factors, and family and social support networks of the individual.
In 2009/2010, 68,207 adults in England who had a child living with them for some of the time were receiving treatment for substance misuse, and 2.6 million children in the UK lived with hazardous drinkers. Furthermore, in the same period, 40% of child protection cases were linked to substance misuse. Hence, it is essential that professionals carefully assess the effects of parental substance misuse on the parent’s ability to offer and maintain adequate and consistent care for children.
There is higher risk of transmission of HIV or hepatitis from injecting mothers to the baby during delivery, due to blood-to-blood contact. This has resulted in better screening and monitoring of mothers who have these infections to ensure early provision of medication and appropriate care for these mothers and babies. According to Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health early identification and provision of medication to mothers and infants in the initial post-delivery period has proved to be an effective and successful approach.
Research has shown that children with prenatal drug exposure are at increased risk of learning and attention problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Pulsifer et al 2008, Morrow et al 2009).
U.K. NHS data indicate that there were 44,585 admissions where there was a primary or secondary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders in 2009/10, and is 5.7% higher than 42,170 admissions in 2008/09.
Therefore, given the prevalence, impact, and importance of parental substance misuse, we and relevance of this problem, in today’s debate we wish to explore the following:
What are some of the implications and effects of parental substance misuse for parents and their children?
What are some of the challenges in dealing with parents with substance misuse?
If the parent are able to contain and control their substance misuse so that their children are not aware of their parents dependence, is this still represent an issue for social workers?
Is parental substance misuse a child protection issue?
What is the relationship between parental substance misuse and parental capacity?
What is the relationship between parental substance misuse and parents and their children’s mental health?
What is the relationship between parental substance misuse and young people’s substance misuse?
What are some of the long-term effects of parental substance misuse?
What are some of the other relevant issues in relation to parental substance misuse?
Join us for a debate on ”Parental Substance Misuse and Addiction” today (7 August 2012) 8:00 PM BST (UK) / 3:00 PM EDT (Eastern Time USA) @SWSCmedia.